A couple of weeks ago I put forward the idea to oppose unpaid internships to the Better University Forum. Internships are valuable forms of experience so here are a few points to explain why we should oppose unpaid internships and vote YES to the idea in the referendum this week:
Unpaid internships create an unfair bias – once you leave University you have no student loan. If you do not have the money to live, eat and support yourself on an unpaid internship then this ‘choice’ is immediately taken away, favouring the few who can afford to live. It’s not just about being paid to work, but paid to live.
According to NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers), responding employers indicated that 31 percent of their new employees came from their own internship programs and a staggering 62 percent had previous internship experience. With this in mind surely talent should be the deciding factor in being successful and not ones ability to fund an experience.
The majority of organisations that take on interns can afford to pay them. As a trustee of LUU and a member of the University’s Board of Governors I know that setting budgets is setting priorities; students are valuable and should be paid.
Some people say you could seek benefits or could work part-time (probably with abnormal shift patterns) alongside a 40 hour week with no pay but do we really think these are attractive options for graduates?
This won’t mean fewer options for students at Leeds. Many experiences are less than 3 weeks or are part-time such as lab work. This isn’t an internship.
This isn’t just a matter of principle. We, (LUU and the UoL) have an obligation to ensure all our students can at least have the option to apply for these experiences.
This idea is specifically about your Union and your University paying their interns and promoting internships that are paid. It’s about joining other organisations around the country and becoming part of a larger, national campaign to gain momentum and encourage others to do the same.
Vote here: www.leedsuniversityunion.org.uk/yourideas/referendum/
To read more about this visit: http://www.internaware.org/
Or read the one of many articles here: http://tinyurl.com/c764lnt